Cheers and fears among locals

Mixed reaction to Trump’s election

Depending on who you are, the astonishing vic­tory of Donald Trump last week was either wonder­ful or a disaster for the country.

Karl Zahn, who hosts a radio talk show and has owned a local excavation business for decades, is among the former.

As co-chairman of Trump’s Milford cam­paign, Zahn said he has gotten to know the man enough to realize that people’s fears that his presidency will lead to autocratic rule are "ridic­ulous."

Some of the things the president-elect has said should be "taken with a huge grain of salt, Zahn said.

He said meeting Trump’s family showed him a differ­ent side of the candidate – a side that is gracious and compassionate.

Zahn also believes Trump will follow through on his promises.

"I do believe he will tighten up the border and build a wall" on the Mexi­can border, Zahn said, because the country can’t afford to take care of all of the illegal immigrants who are coming in.

But he will also treat people with compassion, Zahn said.

And the fact that he is considering U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte, who dis­avowed Trump during the campaign, for a posi­tion in his administration shows he will have an even-handed approach to government, Zahn said.

"I urge everyone to quell their fears," said Zahn, who said he be­lieves Trump is a true patriot who ran for presi­dent because he wants to save the country from in­ept leaders.

"I think people will see a much different side of him," Zahn said.

But James Squires, a former state senator and Hollis town moderator, said he’s afraid.

Acknowledging that the election "pointed to deep divisions" in the coun­try and that he and other Trump opponents should "put aside the moaning and do our best to come together as a country," Squires said he has major concerns about Trump’s ability to lead.

Diplomatic relations are vital as nuclear weapons proliferate, he said, and Trump is not temperamentally suit­ed to the "slow, tedious work" of international diplomacy, which he said is essential if we are to avoid destroying one another.

"I am not even sure Donald Trump under­stands basic geogra­phy," he said.

And how can a di­vided nation be healed, he said, by a man who "downplays women and immigrants and says Muslims have a bad re­ligion?"

The idea of an impen­etrable wall across the southern border is fool­ish, he said.

But "accidentally or shrewdly," Trump tapped into "the discon­tent of people who have not seen their incomes rise and who are unhap­py over the huge shift in the way people are able to accumulate wealth – all legitimate feelings," Squires said.

To blame those who are dependent on govern­ment for their survival "makes a mockery of the idea that this is a Chris­tian nation," the retired physician said. "As hu­man beings, we ought to look out for one another."

If taxes are cut the way Trump says they will be, Squires said, "The bur­den will fall on the lowest of the low, and that is very wrong."

Squires, who once ran against former U.S. Sen. Gordon Humphrey for the Republican nomina­tion for governor, said he deplores the tone of the 2016 campaign and its "debasement of decent conversation" into per­sonal attacks.

Kathy Cleveland can be reached at 673-3100 or kcleveland@cabinet.com.